Climbing in such extreme conditions, battling attitude sickness and temperatures down to -45° Centigrade is not everyone’s cup of tea. (Tea being a luxury which was apparently one of the most desired of hot beverages throughout the trip!) As it turns out, climbing seems to have been in the Clowes’ family blood ever since the brothers’ father took it upon himself to perform various stunts as a young man such as scaling the outside of famous buildings in Cambridge in order to leave objects like opened umbrellas on the tops of towers.
The lecture itself follows the entire journey chronologically through Tibet to Base Camp and from there to the summit of Everest. Slides of photographs taken on the trip help to portray certain unimaginable aspects of the climb, like the precarious walks across what were described as “regular window cleaning ladders” suspended between ice falls, above dizzying drops into nothingness. There are also some rather shocking shots of Ben Clowes’ frost-bitten toes which were eventually removed after returning from the adventure. The friendly and honest manner in which Tom tells his tale makes it very easy to listen to and understand what was clearly an unforgettable experience.
The accompanying short film, taken throughout the ascent, shows the incredible scale of the mountain and surrounding area and allows the viewer to truly comprehend the accomplishment made by the Clowes brothers and their Sherpa guides.